An Overview to Carandang's Self Worth and the Filipino Child
As a brother or a sister, as a parent or a teacher, as an elderly...or as someone who is being looked up by children...how well do you show their worth?
This book is a compilation of articles and essays regarding the strength of children— particularly, the Filipino children. It is composed of 110 pages and is published last 2004. All of these are the results of the author’s experience in the field of clinical psychology.
The first essay, Listening to Children’s Wisdom and Truth-Telling, emphasized that children should be affirmed that they have the capacity of helping themselves. She cited some experiences she encountered within her field of practice as a clinical psychologist. There were 4 children, the youngest was 5 and the oldest was 16. They were all sexually abused—some by their step-fathers and some, by their very own fathers.
In facing extremely difficult circumstances, they had the courage and wisdom to speak for themselves, to tell it to a trusted adult in order to stop the harassment. Resiliency can also be seen on how they face the aftermath of those sexual and physical harassments and unjust experiences. They find outlets to feel healed and hope is never lost.
The second essay entitled Self worth: the Best Gift We Can Give to the Filipino Child, she asserts that the messages from the children’s significant others have an impact on their growth in the following years. Evaluation on how these adults perceive and interact with children may help on how they can inculcate the children with a good sense of self.
There should always be an appreciation of his/her character. Spotting his/her area of confidence, recognition and a well-defined authority may motivate a child to become brighter in some aspects that he/she is slow. However, labeling and insulting should be avoided for it may leave a feeling of resentment, especially when his/her personality is generalized, and may result to a self-fulfilling prophecy that he/she may live up to that image. Extending a helping hand by giving suggestions with empathy will help. And lastly, a healthy self-esteem in the part of an adult, as a model, will influence a child positively.
Her third essay, The Magic of Affirmation and Empowerment in Therapy and Daily Life, she made mention of the disaster happened last July 1999 which caused death of almost hundreds of people. She and her co-researchers found out that the people who were filled up with such negative emotions could cope through indigenous coping devices such as community sharing—material or emotional. They also kept on holding their faith. Affirmation on how these people were important through simple things, sympathy and healing stories had a great effect in resurfacing the inner resources.
In relation to children, as mentioned earlier, that their areas of competence should be recognized in order for them to have a good sense of self, letting them feel that they can have an impact on their environment, through doing things that they are capable of by the use of suitable techniques and strategies will make them empowered giving rise to the development of self-concept.
The fourth which is entitled, The Use of Play in Therapy and Normal Functioning of Filipino Children, the play is highlighted as the key to emotional development and well-being of people. She observed children in a group setting and discovered that children express feelings that are kept inside and labeled unacceptable in the environment he/she belongs through play therapy. Another is, it enables children to possess such power from the environment and when that happens, the intensity of the trauma will lessen thus giving chance for a child to give an ending and a new start for a new course.
The fifth that is, The Healing Power of Art and Other Expressive Therapies, the author pointed out that art helps psychological processes to be expressed. Examples of this are: music, story telling, puppetry and psychodrama. From the assistance of a therapist, these help a child to express feelings that surpass words to define.
The sixth is The Healing Stories for Children Stories are said to teach values, sometimes unconsciously, such as honesty, politeness, caring, etc. Metaphors in a certain story may let the child to reflect it and compare it to his/her own life. These stories are easily absorbed by children and through it values —may it be good or bad— can be instilled.
On the seventh essay, Let’s Tune in to Our Children, she recommends that adults, who stand beside children, should focus on how he/she would be oriented in the world. The way adults speak and the images they portray and the media are absorbed easily by children without editing. Since critical thinking is not yet well-developed they accept things as they are and then they act resembling what they observe. Therefore, parents have an important role in monitoring their children, for things in childhood manifest in adulthood.
Lastly, Parenting is a NationBuilding. Family is often regarded as the smallest unit in the society. Our nation is composed of many families. However, the author claims that parenting, or managing children inside the family has a great effect in nation building. There is a culture within the society, misunderstanding the self-worth of a child. Since the molding of children has an effect on their growth, they, as future nation builders, are the picture of the quality of parenting that they experienced when they were young. To quote, “Discipline, dignity, and self-worth are the best give to our children. Not coincidentally, these are also what our country needs most today.”
From these concepts, I have learned that children have the capacity. Adults just need to be aware on how skillfully would they let these capacities and qualities be expressed. The roles of the adults are not to lead but to support, to uplift, to affirm and to empower.
Therefore, in order to raise a child that is empowered, his/her significant others should be empowered first, in accordance with modeling.
Also, suitable therapies are important to help children to unleash their hidden selves because of fear. Such therapies are through the use of play, story and art.
Indeed, the values which adults unconsciously or consciously instilling, shall have great effects in their growth as mature individuals and shall define the quality of nation the future adults will uphold.
Since this book is written by a clinical psychologist, it is easy to see the implication or the involvement of the information she shared in Psychology.
With all the experiences,
All knowledge and possessions that an adult has,
Underestimating children is never hard.
But try looking at the other side.
These children that adults perceive as innocent and helpless,
are the ones that could remind them valuable lessons in life
that must have faded—
by experiences, knowledge and possessions.
And these are…
Purity and honesty,
Resiliency and wisdom.
True, there is much to learn in children’s self-worth, self-concept, attitude and behavior and further studies in these psychological attributes would satisfy the need to know. However, this is not to infer that one study is enough to generalize. As described by my professor, human behavior has inevitable variability. Thus, discovering is limitless.
This book by Carandang, 2004, may serve as a related literature for future researches regarding the subject matter.